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Nov 8, 2009 04:58 PM

Reservations at Arzak - what to expect?

I'm heading to Arzak in November when they reopen on November 26th - any reccomendations on what to order or a heads up on what to expect? Also, what is the atmosphere/dress code? Thanks!

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  1. There is no dress code for Arzak, casual nice to suit and tie. As for atmosphere, it is probably the most unstuffy of all the three star restaurants in Spain. It is still a family run restaurant. Their menu changes constantly, therefore, it is difficult to recommend particular dishes. The excellent manager, Senora Espina, usually comes to every table to discuss the menu and what to order. She speaks excellent English. There are various ways to compose a meal: the tasting menu, compose own tasting menu by splitting courses, a la carte. There is always some variation on foie gras, probably wild mushrooms are in season, maybe truffles, the famous elliptical egg, cigales, specialities that might be on the menu are: the traditional hake with clams in green sauce, lamb with coffee, squab with honeycomb. Some of their signature desserts are chocolate hamburger, chocolate tortilla, an exotic fruit made to foam up like lava with dry ice, fresh cheese ice cream. Juan Mari or Elena or both will frequently come out to chat with each diner about the food, etc.

    1. When we ate there, we hesitated about ordering a tasting menu, as it did not include several dishes on the a la carte that we really wanted. The maitre d' graciously offered to give us those dishes in addition to what was on the tasting at no extra charge. It was a great meal. Most of the clientele seems to favor jacket and tie, but I don't think you would feel uncomfortable in really nice casual.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rrems

        It's very friendly, and the least 'swish' of the famous San Sebastian restaurants. Really helpful staff and a wide range of diners.

        Order things you have never tried before, or combinations you have never seen before. No pint in visiting somewhere so outstanding & playing safe in your choices.

        There is some theatricality on the plates, however. We had an amazing pudding which the waitress poured some weird steaming liquid over until the whole plate seemed to be covered in what looked like dry ice - she said it was "un poco Harry Potter".

      2. How far out can you make reservations at Arzak? I am planning a trip to the area next summer and want to make sure that call at the right now.

        1 Reply
        1. re: amiebd

          It never hurt to make it once you know the date. They might tell you to do it at a later date. Over the years, I've eaten at Arzak approximately ten times and have never had problem getting a reservation for two people by calling couple months ahead. From posts on this board, the non-smoking section is more desirable, therefore, booked earlier.